#7: Energy needed for a year’s supply of smartphones = 3,700 Hiroshima atomic bombs

That fairly bad-taste headline pretty much says it all. In 2015, the planet was farmed for 1.4 billion smartphones and the energy required to produce them all was equivalent to the energy released from more than 3,700 Hiroshima atomic bombs.

Bear with me on the maths. The Hiroshima nuclear bomb yielded 16 kilotons of energy and the production of a smartphone costs about 180 megajoules. Multiply that by 1.4 billion handsets and convert the answer into kilotons (60,229). Finally divide by 16 to get the number of ‘Little Boy’ bombs. Boom.

Now here’s an equally bad-taste infographic showing what 3,700 Hiroshima bombs might look like if we exploded them all at the same time. That’s a lot of energy. That’s a lot of smartphones.


Further Reading

‘Smartphone Sales Worldwide 2007-2015 | Statistic’. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/263437/global-smartphone-sales-to-end-users-since-2007/.

‘The Right to 35 Mobiles’. Low-Tech Magazine. http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/02/the-right-to-35.html

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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